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Middle Grades MATH Thematics:
The STEM Project: Body Ratios

Content Strand: Number

Teacher:
Cary Tuckey

School:
North Kirkwood Middle School
Kirkwood, MO
Grade 6

Project Director:
Jim Williamson

45 minutes

Body Ratios: "Twice round the thumb is once round the wrist," said the Lilliputians in Gulliver's Travels. Students here investigate whether or not the Lilliputians, who used this ratio to make a shirt for the giant Gulliver, were right. The lesson demonstrates the integrated approach to mathematics that the MATH Thematics Curriculum takes, with students using and gaining knowledge and skills in number sense, ratios, fractions, measurement, making predications, analysis, and geometric concepts. After exploring and interpreting several different body ratios, students determine how tall Gulliver would be if a Lilliputian's average height were that of a sixth grader. The lesson extends to the outdoors, where students make a life-size outline of a shirt for Gulliver.


Middle Grades MATH Thematics:
The STEM Project: Trashsketball

Content Strand:
Data Analysis

Teacher:
Kelly Hankins

School:
Hayes Middle School,
Albuquerque,
NM
Grade 7

Project Director:
Jim Williamson

40 minutes

Trashsketball: In the MathThematics Curriculum math concepts are centered around themes that relate to children's lives. Basketball is the chosen theme for this lesson on data analysis. The class discusses basketball and the way in which points are scored as an introduction to a game of their own: Trashketball! Using wads of paper as a ball and the trash bin as a basket students rotate to different stations where they can score one, two, or three points. They tally their scores and once the whistle's blown students make a frequency chart with the data they have just collected. The teacher writes each person's total points on the board in a disorganized fashion. As a class they organize and display the Trashketball scores in a stem-and-leaf plot and a bar graph. Students analyze the data learning mathematical concepts such as mean, median, mode, range and cluster. In addition, the power of data displays is revealed to them as they see how the stem-and-leaf plot provides exact data whereas the bar graph does not. Afterwards, the class re-plays the game, only this time using the opposite hand. In pairs, students make their own stem-and-leaf plots identifying the statistical values previously learned as a class.